#PitchWars Bio: Nikki Shannon Smith

I’ll be pitching my #YA #ownvoices #ghoststory, DUSKY, so here is a little bit about me…


One sentence bio that probably tells you everything you really need to know about me:

I spent my young adult years in the 1980’s.

Ahh Ahh gif

Bio with 7 bullets since the sentence above might not do the trick:

  • I was born and raised in Oakland, CA. Now I live in Davis, CA which might actually   be the polar opposite of Oakland. There’s no place like home– except Disneyland, which is better than home.
  • I was a winged monkey in my high school production of The Wiz.
  • I’m married with two teenage children, so my refrigerator and my pockets are always empty.
  • I’ve spent the last 23 years of my life in elementary education. Three and a half of those were spent as an elementary school principal. I now happily teach second grade.
  • I’m the Co-Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI California: North Central (but only represent myself here).
  • I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I like Scandal, Black-ish, and House.
  • My taste in music is eclectic, because… 80’s. Favorites are Prince, Sade, Santana, Missy Elliot, David Bowie, Busta Rhymes, most Old School Rap (helpful clarification: the first decade of 2000 is NOT old school), Eurythmics, Snoop Dog (or Lion or whatever)… the list really goes on. I’m big on music. It’s poetry you can dance to.

snoop dancing

Molly Ringwald Dancing


I don’t like to list favorite books, because I love many, many books, and I think all books offer something to someone. On the left are the last few novels I read and enjoyed. (Not shown: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste and The Sittin’ Up by Sheila P. Moses, which are now in the loving hands of my niece.) On the right are the books that patiently wait for me.


I’m pretty happy about my own book, too.

(Random House/Little Golden Books, 2011)

Elf cover for conference.jpg

What I’m pitching for #PitchWars: DUSKY (Young Adult)

Two hundred years is a long time to hold a grudge, but Dusky has a lot to be angry about from her lifetime as a slave. She’s come to present day California for revenge. Instead she finds a truth she never expected.

From my query:

From the night seventeen year old Dusky was born, she brought death to the Thomas Plantation. Her mere existence caused the deaths of her mother, grandfather, white half-sister, and finally her grandmother. Even after Dusky dies, death accompanies her. She haunts her slave-owner father Mr. Thomas, and kills his wife to avenge her family’s deaths; but she’s not done yet.

For nearly two hundred years, Dusky guards the golden baby spoon her grandfather stole for her from the big house—a constant reminder of what she was denied and of everything she lost. When the spoon is shipped to seventeen year old Cecile, a Thomas descendant, Dusky is compelled to follow it… and continue to avenge her life and death. Dusky is fascinated by Cecile and realizes if she possesses her, she can have what the Thomas family truly owes her: a life. Dusky becomes increasingly desperate to live a life of privilege and gain the affection of a boy named Christopher, but she has not mastered the art of possession, and Cecile’s loved ones are beginning to notice a change in her. The harder Dusky tries, the further she gets from living a real life—and ever finding peace.

Who I would be as a mentee:

I’ll be a really grateful, enthusiastic participant who will take feedback with an open mind and probably ask a lot of questions, because that’s how I process things. Sometimes I go silent, and people think it’s because I’m mad or offended or funny-style, but usually my quiet means I’m thinking or simply working my butt off. I work hard at everything I do and I’m a weird combination of Type A and carefree. I’m here to learn and improve.

Nikki’s Website           @nikki2smith on Twitter           #PimpMyBio Blog Hop

You can see all of the bios on Lana Pattinson’s blog here.

Learn about #PitchWars here.

Thank you, Brenda Drake, Lana Pattinson, and generous mentors! Good luck everyone!

The End gif

6 thoughts on “#PitchWars Bio: Nikki Shannon Smith

  1. Nikki, saw the Prince gif at the top of the page and had to read on! I’m curious why Dusky thinks CA is the place for revenge, but questions are good. PS I have a copy of The Little Christmas Elf! I read it to my daughter several times this year in December and other years too, not sure how many…!


    1. Hi Jonathan,

      Thanks for visiting the page. I’m a huge Prince fan! I’ve been thinking of putting a portion of my query for DUSKY up to elaborate, so I’m glad you raised the question. Thank you so much for your comments about THE LITTLE CHRISTMAS ELF. I’m glad your daughter enjoys it. You’ve added a bright spot to my day!



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